Council meetings

Agenda item

Annual Complaints Report 2018-19


The Director of Public Services presented the report which provided

performance information for 2018/19 on complaints dealt with by the Council

and its housing partners at Stages 1 and 2 of the Corporate Complaints

procedure and complaints and enquiries to the Mayor, Councillors and MPs

logged on the Council’s complaints management system during 2018 -19.


It was explained that there were a total of 7828 complaints and enquiries

received in 2018/19 which represented a 12% increase when compared to the

previous year.  Attention was drawn to the breakdown of complaints and

enquiries by directorate and the percentages of those responded to within the

standard response times appearing as Tables 1, 2 and 3. It demonstrated that

the Council had improved in resolving complaints at the first point of contact.


The Committees attention was drawn to the breakdown of complaints

received by ward as set put at paragraph 5.4 and recent trends in relation to

the reasons for complaints. It was noted that the top three issues identified as

the reasons for complaints in 2018/19 were in relation to environment,

housing strategy and Council Tax.


It was explained that the Independent Adjudicator, who deals with Stage 3

complaints on behalf of the Council, had received 9 less complaints this year.

There was an increase this year in complaints upheld by the Independent

Adjudicator where she had investigated.  


The Committee was referred to the Local Government and Social Care

Ombudsman Annual Letter which provides a summary and commentary on

complaints made against the Council. In 2018/19 127 complaints were

received a decrease of 19 on 2017/18.The LGSCO was critical of the time

taken to implement agreed remedies in a couple of the complaints.


The Director of Public Services confirmed that whilst there has been a

significant increase in complaints over the last two financial years the Council

was dealing with them faster and resolving them earlier.


In response to the significant increase in complaints and enquiries in

Resources and Regeneration the Director of Public Services could not at this

stage provide an explanation as to why they have gone up and other areas

have gone down.  It could possibly be due to incorrect categorisation.


In response to further inquiry the Dire3cxtor of Public Services confirmed that

Stage 2 complaints are handled by the Corporate Complaints Team and an

independent review will be conducted.


It was confirmed that whilst the Council is improving the provision of services

online all conventional methods remain in place. In response to the specific

concerns relating to homelessness it was explained by the Director of Public

Services that officers remain committed to face to face contact with the right



In response to an enquiry in relation to attempts to capture equalities

information the Director of Public Services confirmed that there remained

difficulties in obtaining such details, which would be very informative. The

Council however remains keen to develop methods to capture such



In response to an enquiry about any available benchmarking to inform how

well the Council is doing compared to other similar local authorities. The

Director of Public Services confirmed that whilst he could locate statistics for

statutory complaints he could not find any statistical information for corporate

complaints by other local authorities.  However any information would have to

be treated with caution as no local authority complaints processes are the

same. By way of illustration, in Lewisham we have an Independent

Adjudicator which not many local authorities do not.



RESOLVED that the report be noted.

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